How Damon Dash Blew Millions and Went Flat Broke


Reported by Ryan Brennan

Damon Dash found himself on top of the music world in the late 1990s and early 2000s. At that time, Dash was enjoying his reign as CEO of the hottest rap label in hip-hop, Roc-A-Fella Records. Such featured artists under the label included Jay-Z, Kanye West, Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel, DJ Clue and Juelz Santana.

Additionally, Dash was also the CEO of Rocawear, a very successful clothing line that generated around $350-450 million in revenue annually. And to add more to his successes, Dash even went on to executive produce the 2004 critically-acclaimed film starring Kevin Bacon entitled The Woodsman.

Arguably, hip-hop wouldn’t be the way it is today if it weren’t for Dash. Just the fact that he assisted Jay-Z in becoming a household name is a testament to this. With all of the success that Dash has had, you would think that he would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars and control a music dynasty comparable to Dr. Dre or even Russell Simmons. However, that’s not the case for Dash.

Today, Dash not only finds himself completely broke, but he also finds himself millions of dollars in debt to the IRS. He has had multiple properties seized through foreclosure. In 2004, the three owners of Roc-A-Fella Records, including Dash and Jay-Z, decided to sell the record label for $10 million. However, when Jay-Z asked Dash to join him at a meeting, Dash discovered some shocking news. The part of the deal that shook Dash was not that each partner would receive $3 million. It was the fact that only Jay-Z would be promoted to the President of Def Jam, the buyer.

Shocking him even more was when Jay-Z refused to let Dash keep the iconic “Roc-A-Fella” name. The blow that did it for Dash was when all of the label’s artists had the option to stay with Def Jam and Jay-Z or leave with Dash and his record label. Most of the artists chose to stay with Jay-Z, including future superstar Kanye West.

Between the years of 2004 and 2009, Dash had a line of failed ventures. His new record label, Roc La Familia, and clothing line, The Damon Dash Collection, both folded and failed. His wife divorced him and he was sued for $15 million due to an alleged rape. Before he knew it, his estimated $50 million fortune was gone. Today, he reportedly remains flat broke.


Personal Finance